Ride-hailing platform Bolt is launching a dedicated ‘Pet’ category in London to give pet owners across the capital peace of mind when ordering a ride.
The new service will arrive on Tuesday 5 September and will include a small additional charge for passengers, representing an opportunity for drivers to increase their earnings.
There are an estimated 13 million pet dogs and 12 million pet cats in the UK, with London being ranked as the most pet-friendly city in Europe. Bolt has six million passengers signed up in London. Across 19 UK cities, the company has 100,000 drivers and 9 million passengers signed up.
Being driver friendly is seen as a priority for Bolt so flexibility is built into the proposition - the category is not mandatory for drivers. They can opt out of the category once it’s live by unticking it in the Bolt Driver app. Furthermore, drivers who remain in the category will be able to see if a passenger is requesting a ‘Pet’ category ride and will be free to accept, decline, or ignore the request as they wish.
Bolt is taking efforts to educate the driver and passenger communities on the ins-and-outs of the category. If there’s only one passenger, they may bring two small pets. These include small to medium-sized dogs, cats, and other commonly recognised household pets. In order to share the details of the category with drivers and passengers, the company is initiating a variety of communications including emails, blog posts, content and advertising on social media, and in-app pushes. Passengers are recommended to have a blanket on their person.
Consumer research indicates the category should bring a peace of mind to multiple use cases. Data says that 14 percent of Londoners are cat owners whilst nine percent are dog owners. The City of London has the highest vets to pet owners ratio whilst, almost as crucially for some passengers, London has the fifth highest dog-friendly pubs to population ratio.
Deborah Meijer, Head of Operations for Bolt in London, said: “Many Londoners have the joy of owning a pet, however sometimes they can be reluctant to book a trip when they have their furry friend in tow as they don’t want to be a hassle. Similarly, drivers can be surprised when they find out it isn’t just humans that have requested a ride. The ‘Pet’ category gives transparency to both sides so should consequently make for a more valuable, stress-free relationship for all involved.
“Our mission is to make cities for people, not private cars. Since pets are often rightly touted as our best friend, it was only right we took the step of launching a dedicated category. I personally cannot wait to use this service with my own dog.”
Those with an assistance dog do not need to request the ‘Pet’ category.